Brandon Inge: The Most Under-Rated Catcher in Baseball

Shaun CopseyCorrespondent IJuly 30, 2008

How hard is it to get playing time when the positions you play are filled with players such as:

  • 2-time silver slugger award winner Miguel Cabrera
  • All-star Carlos Guillen - Is it true that Leyland thinks he's the team's MVP?
  • Magglio Ordonez - led the league with a .363 BA in 2007.

For Brandon Inge, getting playing time this season used to be due to starters getting a rest or combating brief injuries to fellow Detroit Tigers. Brandon Inge is a rare breed in Major League Baseball.  Inge can successfully play third-base, catcher, and all three outfield positions.

Brandon Inge, who's in his eighth season with the club, is not used to being used as a utility player.  Inge became a utility player by default with the acquisition of Miguel Cabrera.  Before the deal that brought Cabrera to Detroit, the outfield in place was already stacked with high-priced sluggers, and veteran Ivan "Pudge" Rodriguez already instilled as the every-day catcher.

Well, playing time just got a bit easier for the 31-year-old in his eighth season with the Tigers.  The 14-time All-Star known as "Pudge" will be wearing New York Yankee pinstripes.

And besides, between playing third-base, catcher, and the outfield this season, Inge has a flawless fielding percentage with no errors!  How many other people in baseball can say the same?  The answer, none!

Even though Inge has a career .240 batting average, he's shown flashes in his career as a run producer.  In 2006, Inge belted out 27 home runs.  This potential, on top of near flawless defense as a catcher, puts Inge instantly into the echelon with other top catchers in the league. 

How great is it to have the kind of flexibility that Brandon Inge brings to your baseball team?  Apparently Jim Leyland and the Tigers management realized this and have decided to get the guy everyday playing time behind the plate.  In turn, Inge has allowed the Tigers to upgrade their bullpen with the addition of Kyle Farnsworth.

I give those involved in this deal two-thumbs up for moving a high-priced contract of Ivan Rodriguez over to the Yankees to give a blue-collar player like Brandon Inge a chance behind the plate. 

If you have a fantasy baseball team and are in need of a catcher, you might want to copycat the bold move that was just orchestrated by the Detroit Tigers and make Brandon Inge your starting catcher.  If not your starter, then maybe as a backup, not only at catcher, but third-base and the outfield as well.

Besides, look at the rest of the Tigers lineup.  Inge won't have pressure on him to belt out 30 homers and hit .300.  He'll likely be batting ninth behind the Latino Olympic team, I mean Detroit Tigers!